Rumor: Next Xbox Tied at the Hip to New, Improved Kinect
By Damon Poeter February 11, 2013 08:39pm EST 1 Very specific information about the next-generation Xbox code named Durango has gone from a few leaks to a full-fledged gusher with the latest bit of so-called intelligence coming from a Kotaku source called SuperDaE.
The big news, if SuperDaE is to be believed—the next-gen Xbox will ship with a vastly improved Kinect motion sensor that "will always be watching you," according to Kotaku. In fact, the so-called Xbox 720 won't work unless the next-gen Kinect is plugged in, the source said.
Microsoft, of course, is remaining mum on all such leaks about the next Xbox. Nintendo released its eight-generation game console, the Wii U, at the end of 2012. As expected, Microsoft and Sony held out on making theirs available until this year—most industry watchers figure the next-gen Xbox and PlayStation will hit shelves sometime just before the end-of-year holiday season, but it could be sooner.
SuperDaE, who claimed to have two Durango development kits, gave the gaming site an earful about what to expect from the successor to Microsoft's current Xbox 360 $299.99 at Microsoft Store, most it apparently gleaned from informational materials sent to game developers being courted by Redmond to create titles for the coming console.
SuperDaE's tale comes on the heels of a new spate of Xbox rumors that emerged last week, as well as some purported info about Sony's next-generation PlayStation console that cropped up around the same time.
In fact, much of what SuperDaE had to say seemed pretty familiar. The Edge last week was peddling a similar story about Microsoft's plans for the next version of Kinect and tipping the new console's support for Blu-ray, as well as suggesting there will be a hefty hard drive in the next-gen console—Kotaku's source got specific on that front, saying it will be 500GB.
What Kotaku's source didn't have a handle on was a rumor promulgated by the Edge that Microsoft's next Xbox will only work when connected to the Internet and won't play used games.
But SuperDaE did offer up quite a bit of other stuff. The new Kinect camera "is able to track up to six individual 'skeletons' in the same room at all times," according to Kotaku, which mentioned 'automatic player identification" and "maybe even charging users based on who is watching what" as possible applications. The rumored Kinect improvements also allow the sensor to conduct more refined tracking of game players' body movements and possibly even their facial expressions, the gaming site said.
The Kotaku source also pointed to some welcome improvements under the hood of Microsoft's next-gen console, including tech that supposedly allows gamers to pop in a game disc and start playing almost immediately as the bulk of the installation process takes place "in the background." There will also supposedly be multi-tasking capabilities on the new Xbox—as Kotaku pointed out, not exactly a revolutionary step for a computing device, but a fairly big deal for a game console.
One tip from SuperDaE that will likely leave some grumbling—current Xbox 360 controllers supposedly won't work with the Durango system, which uses "new wireless technology," according to Kotaku.
The gaming site also offered up basic schematics for the motherboard layout in the next-gen Xbox, as passed along by its source. Again, there's a lot of familiar stuff here that has been previously reported by other outlets. According to SuperDaE, Durango's engine is a hybrid CPU-GPU package featuring eight cores of 64-bit central processing clocking at 1.6GHz and featuring 4MB of L2 cache coupled with Direct X 11.x-capable graphics running at 800MHz. There's 8GB of DDR3 RAM in that package, plus 32MB of Flash memory "for system tasks," as Kotaku notes, run via special computational accelerators also included in the CPU-GPU package that handle things like audio and video codecs.
The rest of the mainboard block diagram published by the gaming site details storage and I/O, the latter of which includes HDMI 1.4a, USB 3.0, Gigabit Ethernet, and 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, as well as ports for the Kinect and game controllers.